Short Film Review – Poles Apart

Poles Apart [rating=5]

In Poles Apart we meet Nanuk (Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd), a solitary polar bear living in a desert area of the Arctic with no company and barely any prey to catch due to global warming. As she’s on the trail of her first kill in a long time Aklak, (Joseph May, Thomas & Friends), a travelling grizzly bear kitted out in a wooly hat and explorers backpack startles her causing her prey to get away much to her annoyance. The jubilant and oblivious Aklak is thrilled to meet another bear on his travels and talks a hangry Nanuk into joining him in a nearby cave to share the rest of his food rations. It is at this point she must decide, is he a friend or her prey?

Poles Apart is a film that is full of charm and heart from beginning to end and it came as no surprise to me that it won the McLaren Award for Best British Animation at the 71st Edinburgh Film Festival and is now nominated for a BAFTA in the Best Animated Short category. The set pieces are beautiful and the puppets are fantastic, which is no wonder considering Mackinnon and Saunders who also crafted the puppets for Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and Laika’s ParaNorman are behind these charming bears. Clocking in at only 12 minutes long, the short does well to keep the viewer entertained with it’s lovely visuals, fantastic voice work and the right amount of emotion. My only complaint is that it’s not longer – I’d love to see more of this duo in action! I’d highly recommend you check the short out for yourself when it becomes available to watch and I hope to see more from director Paloma Baeza. Wonderful.

Animation | UK, 2017 | Dir. Paloma Baeza | Helena Bonham Carter, Joseph May